The City’s Green Bin program helps keep waste out of landfill by collecting and processing organics into material that can be used to create nutrient-rich compost used to feed and nourish soil. The City collects organics from approximately 460,000 houses, as well as most apartment and condo buildings, schools and City-owned buildings.
All Food Waste
The City does not accept the following items marketed or labelled as compostable or biodegradable in its Green Bin organics program:
These items, which may be made of or lined with a bio-based plastic, must be disposed of in the garbage. Alternatively, products can be returned to retailers/manufacturers that offer take-back programs.
The City commissioned research related to disposal of single-serve coffee and tea pods. The findings include feedback from Toronto residents about use, attitudes and disposal behaviours.
What goes in the Green Bin is very important as the organic material is used to create high-quality compost that can be used to feed and nourish soil. The Green Bin program was designed primarily to handle food waste as well as some fibre/paper products. It was not designed to process packaging.
Instead of traditional composting, the City uses anaerobic digestion technology to process Green Bin waste. Before organic material goes into the anaerobic digesters, it goes through a pre-processing phase to remove any contamination. In this phase, anything that behaves like a plastic, regardless of what it is made of, is removed and sent to landfill. Bio-based plastics, such as compostable plastic bags and cutlery, behave like plastic and as such are removed during the pre-processing phase and sent to landfill.
There are many benefits to using anaerobic digestion to process organics. The City chose anaerobic digestion because it:
Learn more about what happens to organics once they are picked up at the curb.
To process Green Bin organic waste, the City uses anaerobic digestion, which generates a by-product called biogas. The City, working with Enbridge Gas Inc., has installed infrastructure at the Dufferin Solid Waste Management Facility that allows it to create renewable natural gas (RNG) from Green Bin organics. The new equipment enables the City to take the raw biogas produced from processing Green Bin organics, turn it into RNG and inject it into the natural gas grid for City use.
The City has installed Green Bins for organic waste in all Dog Off-Leash Areas in parks across the city. In parks that do not have a Green Bin, residents are encouraged to dispose of dog poop and other organic waste in garbage bins or take it home and place it in the Green Bin.
In May 2021, the City launched a pilot project to test the use of a dedicated compartment for dog waste in street litter bins. The goal of this pilot is to determine if the collection of organic waste from street litter bins is feasible, and to find out if this type of initiative can successfully divert more dog waste from landfill. The first phase of the pilot included 10 street litter bins with a dedicated compartment for dog waste. In August 2021, the second phase of the pilot expanded to a total of 38 bins, with eight bins from the first phase and 30 additional bins in new locations.
The third and final phase of the pilot began in April 2022 and includes a total of 100 bins across the city, with 38 bins from the first two phases and 62 bins in new locations. All pilot bins are located in areas with a high concentration of dogs. The third phase of the pilot will run for six months. Once the pilot is complete, the City will assess the overall results to determine next steps.
A pilot bin can be found near each of the following locations: